Let me introduce you to…


Reference Services at HSLS recently underwent a name change to Research, Instruction, and Clinical Information Services. Reference services were traditionally responsible for providing information in response to a question. As defined by the American Library Association, reference services librarians “assist, advise, and instruct users in accessing all forms of recorded information.”1

So why the change? The new name more accurately reflects the changing roles and expertise of the department. No longer is it just responding to questions, although we still answer questions.

  • Librarians are now supporting research by participating in systematic reviews, research grants, and data management.
  • Librarians provide specialized searches for the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) protocols.
  • The molecular biology information specialists support the needs of researchers in this area through consultation and instruction.
  • Librarians provide information literacy instruction to students within their course curriculum as well as individual instruction and provide innovative and timely library based workshops open to faculty, students, and staff.
  • Clinical support is provided to residents and fellows through individual and departmental instruction on evidence-based medicine and clinical research methods. With their expert searching skills, librarians lead clinicians to the information they need to make diagnosis or treatment decisions.

As our services have evolved, it was time for our name to evolve as well.

~Nancy Tannery

  1. RUSA: Reference and User Services Association (a division of the American Library Association) [Internet]. Chicago: American Library Association; c1996-2015. Professional Competencies for Reference and User Services Librarians; [cited 2015 Sep 17]; Available from: http://www.ala.org/rusa/resources/guidelines/professional

GenomeTV: It’s TV Worth Watching

To be clear, GenomeTV is not actually television. Rather, it is a YouTube Channel for the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This collection of video resources about genetics and genomics is arranged into six broad categories, with content dating back to the human genome announcement at the White House in 2000. When available, PowerPoint slides accompany the videos.


Content includes:

  • Workshops and Meetings: recordings of NHGRI/NIH scientific workshops/meetings exploring data and policy issues, clinical approaches, and the latest research.
  • Symposia: playlists from specialized sessions covering the research and accomplishments of specific NHGRI programs.
  • Education and Training: a variety of tutorials and education resources dedicated to informing students, teachers, researchers, and the public.
  • Lectures: individual and series of lectures intended to share current genetics and genomics research and impact.
  • News and Documentary: news about significant discoveries and documentaries explaining NHGRI projects and initiatives.
  • NHGRI Advisory Council: videos from the three annual open sessions of the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.

Content is continually updated and provides users access to information that they would not otherwise discover. For example, thirty videos, slide sets, and PDFs are available from the three-day hands-on workshops of the ENCODE 2015: Research Applications and Users Meeting. Also available are twenty-four videos from the 4th Annual Scientific Symposium of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Additionally, two videos from the 2015 NHGRI Summer Workshop in Genomics: Nursing Faculty and Educators are accessible. As a final example, every two years NHGRI sponsors and posts content for the lecture series Current Topics in Genome Analysis, which reviews the latest advances in genomics and bioinformatics; the next session begins early 2016.

Many of these videos were created and produced by Genome Productions, of NHGRI’s Communications and Public Liaison Branch. They may be freely copied and distributed; but an appropriate acknowledgement is requested. These videos may also be browsed via the search.HSLS.MolBio Videos tab on the HSLS MolBio Web page. For additional information and training on a variety of genomics resources, contact the HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service.

~Carrie Iwema

DMPTool Adds Template for Genomic Data Sharing Policy (GDS)

DMPToolA Data Management Plan (DMP) is a formal document describing how your data will be managed during your research and after the project is completed, including sharing resulting data with other researchers, and archiving the data for future access and use. With requirements for DMPs increasing among major research funders such as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Science Foundation (NSF), where can researchers quickly find assistance writing a DMP?

The DMPTool, an online system guiding researchers in completing this key component, can be accessed on the DMP tab of the HSLS Data Management Guide. The DMPTool has been customized for the University of Pittsburgh: simply select the University of Pittsburgh from the drop-down menu on the Institution Log In page. Log in with your Pitt credentials on the Web Authentication page.

The DMPTool offers templates for NIH, NSF, and other funders, but an important new template is “NIH-GDS: Genomic Data Sharing,” written specifically for the new NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy (GDS). The customized GDS template offers suggested responses and guidance from Pitt’s IRB and Office of Research (OOR) in one location.

To get started using the GDS template, click on Create New DMP, then Select Template. In the list of templates, click on National Institutes of Health to reveal two NIH templates. Select NIH-GDS: Genomic Data Sharing.

DMP GDS Template
GDS Template

After providing some proposal identification information you will be asked to enter the DMP details. The template outline is on the left. The workspace on the right has three tabs: “Instructions” are from the NIH-GDS; “Links” connect to Pitt and NIH-GDS resources; “Suggested Response” is a customized response, added by HSLS librarians, that researchers may modify as appropriate, and includes pertinent fields populated with selections (in brackets) to be made by the investigator. Do not submit without editing to describe your specific study and data.

While the DMPTool offers excellent guidance and sample documents throughout the DMP writing process, Pitt health sciences researchers preferring to review their DMP with a librarian are welcome to contact the HSLS Data Management Group.

~Andrea Ketchum

New Students And Faculty Orientations

(L) Molecular Biology Information Specialist Carrie Iwema   (R) Reference Librarian Andrea Ketchum Graduate and Professional Student Government’s Orientation and Information Fair Reference Librarian Mary Lou Klem speaking at the Pitt Faculty Orientation

(R) Reference Librarian Melissa Ratajeski at the First Year Medical Student Orientation

Every fall HSLS librarians provide library orientations to new students and faculty and this fall was no different. These orientations can be formal presentations about library resources and services or informal information tables at student organization fairs. Sometimes they are a mixture of both. The librarians enjoy the opportunity to welcome these new students and faculty, provide them with a glimpse of what the library offers, and answer their questions. We hope this is just the start of our interactions with these new members of the Pitt community.

NLM’s Citing Medicine Updated to Reflect New Types of References

citing-medicineCiting Medicine: the NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers provides both instructions and examples for formatting bibliographic citations for different types of published and unpublished material. The guide was recently updated with over 40 new examples, including new references for datasets, data repositories, ahead-of-print articles, and more. In addition to the new references, almost all of the manual’s chapters and two of the appendixes were edited and updated. View all of the changes in the Content Updates appendix.

*Parts of this article were reprinted from the National Library of Medicine – Citing Medicine and Citing Medicine Has New Examples announcements. Continue reading

Treasures from the Rare Book Room: John Hill’s Family Herbal

Hill01Herbals or herbaria—books describing herbs and their medicinal uses—are among the earliest literature created. They may be in the form of manuscripts, scrolls, codices, or loose sheets. Falk Library has several 18th century herbals, but the 1822 edition of John Hill’s Family Herbal is particularly interesting for three reasons: it has color plates unlike earlier herbals in our collection, it has an interesting provenance, and it was written by an author with a notorious reputation.

John Hill (1714-1775) was a polymath, a Georgian botanist, author, and self-promoter. He started as an apothecary, and rose to be the highest paid journalist of his time. Though he lacked a formal university education, he published extensively in botany, medicine, geology, history, and astronomy. He was a brilliant and prolific writer whose books were very popular. His “famous five” potions to cure most common afflictions brought him fortune. This helped to fund his lavish life style, but did not prevent him falling into debt and dying in poverty. Hill introduced the Linnaean classification of plants into England. Though hard working and ambitious to the extreme, his obnoxious behavior earned him epithets like “despiteful” and “shameful” by his contemporaries. He fell into oblivion until George Rousseau published, The Notorious Sir John Hill: The Man Destroyed by Ambition in the Era of Celebrity, in 2012.

The Family Herbal was originally published in 1755. The 1822 edition has beautiful hand-colored plates. It’s an excellent example of a book loved and well-used as indicated by the collector’s ex libris, (his signature), the handwritten index inserted at the end of the volume, and the need to re-back the original leather binding damaged by frequent use. The book belonged to a well-known dentist, William H. Trueman, founding member of the State Dental Society of Pennsylvania. His personal library of 1,250 volumes was eventually donated to the Dental School Library at Northwestern University, although several books, including this one, were acquired by Pitt’s former Dental School Library, and subsequently integrated into Falk Library’s Rare Book Collections.

~Gosia Fort

HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Authors’ names in bold are HSLS-affiliated

Jonathon Erlen, history of medicine librarian, published, “New Dissertations,” in Nursing History Review, 24: 176, 2016, and along with Jay Toth, published, “American Indian Dissertation Abstracts,” in Indigenous Policy Journal, 2015, 27(2): 68.

Charlie Wessel, head of research and reference initiatives, was acknowledged as an additional contributor in the article, “Septic Shock: Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment,” in JAMA, Aug 18, 2015, 314(7): 708-17.


Presenters’ names in bold are HSLS-affiliated

Barbara Epstein, library director, presented a lecture titled, “The Changing Landscape of Health Sciences Libraries,” at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, on August 17, 2015.

Kate Flewelling, outreach coordinator, NN/LM Middle Atlantic Region, moderated an expert panel and presented a workshop called, “10-Step Approach to Service Continuity Planning,” at the Public Library Emergency Preparedness Training Summit, in Lancaster, PA, on September 23, 2015.

Fran Yarger, associate director for digital library services, was the keynote speaker at the Annual Presbyterian University Hospital Nursing Alumnae Association meeting held in Pittsburgh, PA, on September 19, 2015.

Classes October 2015

HSLS offers classes on database searching, software applications such as Prezi, bibliographic management, molecular biology and genetics, and library orientations. For more information, visit the online course descriptions.

Classes are held on the first floor of Falk Library (200 Scaife Hall) in Classroom 1 and on the upper floor of the library in Classroom 2. All classes are open to faculty, staff, and students of the schools of the health sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, who will need a valid Pitt ID or e-mail account. They are also open to UPMC residents and fellows, who will need to show their UPMC IDs.

No registration is required, except where noted. Classes marked with an asterisk (*) qualify for American Medical Association Category 2 continuing education credit.

Class schedules are subject to change. Please consult the online class calendar for the most current information.


FlashClass is a “deal of the week” Groupon-like offer of timely and useful learning. Each week’s offer proposes one or two topics, and you’re invited to sign up to attend a one-hour class the following week. If at least three people sign up, we’ll hold the class. (We’ll notify you either way.)


Advanced PowerPoint for Presentations (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, October 28 9-11 a.m.

EndNote Basics (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Thursday, October 15 10 a.m.-noon

Painless PubMed* (Falk Library Classroom 1)

Thursday, October 8 3-4 p.m.
Wednesday, October 14 Noon-1 p.m.
Monday, October 19 4-5 p.m.
Tuesday, October 27 9-10 a.m.

PowerPoint for Conference Posters (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Tuesday, October 6 9-11 a.m.


Gene Regulation: TRANSFAC, NextBio, ENCODE* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, October 7 1-3 p.m.

Pathway Analysis: NIH DAVID & IPA* (Falk Library Classroom 2)

Wednesday, October 21 1-3 p.m.


Customized classes can be developed for your department, course, or other group.